For the first time since the nation gained its independence in 1991, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence ordered three domestically-produced An-178 medium-lift tactical transports from the Antonov Company on December 29.
This initial order for three aircraft was confirmed when a Ukrainian government delegation signed a memorandum of cooperation with representatives of the Antonov Company in late December. The first serial An-178 is scheduled to be delivered to the Ukrainian armed forces in 2023. The platform has been designed to transport personnel, weapons and light military equipment, which can be delivered by landing or parachute methods.
The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, attended the signing event in late December. Before the memorandum was signed by both parties, he said: “These new planes will be built by Ukrainian citizens, from Ukrainian components, for Ukrainian interests… It strengthens Ukraine’s defence capabilities and helps attract Ukrainian and foreign investments.”
At the event, Volodymyr Zelensky also stressed that future state orders should become normal practice. He called for the Antonov Company to restore and reinforce its human resources by returning its lost professionals and attracting new ones.
Antonov states that the An-178 is powered by two Progress D-436-148FM high-bypass turbofan engines, giving it a cruising speed of 825km/h and a range of 3,680km with a cargo load of 10 tonnes. The aircraft has a maximum payload of 18 tonnes and has an operational ceiling of 40,000ft. The platform can also be modified to conduct search and rescue (SAR), medical evacuation, humanitarian assistance/disaster response (HA/DR) and civil transport missions.